JEFFERSON CITY - A Missouri video contest is promoting drug-free lives and giving high school students a chance to win cash prizes.
The Council for Drug Free Youth, or CDFY, is accepting video submissions until 5 P.M. Friday Oct. 20 for its third annual video contest.
In past years, CDFY has asked students to create videos on themes like “Why Marijuana is Harmful” or “Drugs Destroy Your Dreams." However, CDFY Project Coordinator Melle Richardson said they wanted to take the contest into a new direction.
“This year we thought it would be good to focus on something more positive, and we came up with the theme: 'what drug free means to me,'” Richardson said.
Richardson said this year the council has made some changes that she thinks are exciting for everyone involved.
“This year we have changed it up even more, and we are going to have it at the Capitol City Cinema downtown [Jefferson City], and we are really excited about that because it is a new venue and I think the kids are really excited about it. So we are looking forward to that,” Richardson said.
The contest is open to all mid-Missouri 9th-12th graders, and the videos will be judged by “celebrity judges” who represent local sponsors of the competition. The judges will be looking for criteria such as originality, time length, and the focus on this year’s theme.
“Our mission at Council for Drug Free Youth is to empower youth. So a lot of kids that we hear from really do choose to be drug free. There are a lot of kids who are not doing drugs, and this is an awesome opportunity to provide a platform for them to show and showcase their work on what drug free means to me. In the process the top three winners will get cash prizes.”
The first place winner will receive a $250 in cash, followed by $100 for second place and $50 for third place.
Students from past competitions have received much more than just a cash prize for participating in the contest. The United Way of Central Missouri saw the video submitted by Mary Jo Feller and Darby Nolting and chose them to share their stories for the 2017 United Way Campaign Video, featuring CDFY as the partner agency. That video was a spoken word piece that talked about how addiction has affected the students' own families.
Richardson said the United Way saw their video at the competition and thought it was so powerful they decided to use it for their campaign video.
“So many people have heard their story. . . and made people understand what it is like to have addiction in your family and what it does to everyone. It’s not just the person who is addicted, it’s the entire family,” Richardson said. “I think it really empowered them to tell and share their story, and now they are doing all kinds of things to really sort of to promote awareness in their community and in our community as well”
Richardson said they are excited with the videos they have received so far and understand students sometimes wait until the last minute to turn things in.
“A lot of time times kids wait until the due date, which is tomorrow[Friday]. So I think that’s when they usually typically all come flooding in, and we are really excited about it.”
Videos will be judged and awards announced Monday, Oct. 23 at 6 P.M. at Capitol City Cinema in downtown Jefferson City.